KIPS – Digitalization of Stress Management Courses

Project Manager: Karl Johan Johansen
Project Coordinator: Ida Myran
Duration: 2023-2024

KIPS stands for “Courses in Practical Stress Management.” This project is developing a digital version of an existing physical course that employs a metacognitive approach. The physical course has been tested at the mental health and substance abuse unit in Stjørdal, among patients with mild to moderate mental challenges.

Project Goals

The goal of the KIPS digitalization is to reach as many people as possible who can benefit from the course. With long waiting lists in mental health, simple solutions that can assist more people at an early stage are essential.

There is a significant need for low-threshold services in Norway. KIPS digital can assist many more quickly, without geographical constraints. Participants can take the course online at their convenience and location.

Photo of Karl Johan Johansen and Ida Myran
Karl Johan Johansen and Ida Myran are collaborating on the KIPS project, which aims to digitalize a stress management course that uses metacognitive methods.

What do we do in KIPS?

Digital KIPS focuses on normalizing everyday psychological issues. The course aims to educate participants about what happens to us when we try to manage our problems by ruminating on the past, stressing in the present, and worrying about the future. During the course, participants learn how to make more conscious choices about what they can spend less time, effort, and attention on in their lives: what to prioritize and what to let go.

In the digital course, participants can watch videos on topics such as: What is stress? How the body and brain react to stress, and what worry, rumination, and overthinking are – and what they do to us.

Metacognitive Approach

KIPS is based on a metacognitive approach, which involves learning to detach from entrenched negative thoughts. We do not control the thoughts that arise within us, but we can choose how we respond to them. The metacognitive approach teaches changing how one relates to difficult thoughts so that they do not last longer than necessary. By letting thoughts pass, we spend much less time and energy ruminating on unhelpful things.

What Have We Done, and What Will We Do?

Together with the Council for Mental Health and the municipality of Stjørdal, we have made significant progress in developing the digital course. A script has been developed, recordings made in the studio, and editing completed to create a finished prototype.

The prototype is now being tested, including at the mental health and substance abuse unit/Rapid Mental Health Assistance (RPH) in Stjørdal and among students at the Norwegian University of Life Sciences (NMBU). The design, content editing, and platform development are refined continuously as the prototype is tested.

So far, tests of digital KIPS have shown that patient recovery at RPH Stjørdal is more than halved compared to previously practiced cognitive one-on-one treatment. This has resulted in reduced waiting lists and quicker help for more people.

The Story of KIPS

Back in 2020, the mental health and substance abuse unit in Stjørdal observed challenges in the low-threshold service Rapid Mental Health Assistance (RPH) in the municipality. As more and more people experienced mental challenges, waiting lists for the low-threshold service grew. There was a need for a more effective psychological approach to help patients recover more quickly.

In collaboration with metacognitive therapist and author Geir Wigtil, a physical course in practical stress management (KIPS) was developed for the unit. Training was provided to the unit’s course leader, who conducted the physical course for patients. The physical KIPS was tested for 1.5 years and showed that the recovery period for patients was reduced by over 30% compared to previous cognitive one-on-one treatments.

With the positive results from physical KIPS, the idea to create a digital course that could help even more people – and would also suit municipalities without low-threshold offerings like Rapid Mental Health Assistance – was born. This was the start of the development of KIPS digital.

Supported by the Dam Foundation

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This is a translation of Norwegian information about the KIPS project. The translation was done using AI technology. Before publication, the text was read over and some corrections were made.

CHIME 2.0. Recovery-oriented Training Courses

Projectgroup:
Karl Johan Johansen (projectleader)
Anne Hirrich (projectcoordinator, on projectleave 1.12.2023-30.11.2024)
Yvonne Vornes (peer support worker)
Ottar Ness (NTNU)
Mary Leamy (King`s College)

Duration: 2023-2025

About CHIME 2.0

The project builds on the pilot project CHIME 1.0. The pilot examined challenges and drivers related to the implementation of recovery-oriented practices in health and welfare services in Norway. We identified significant variations in how service providers and leaders work with personal and/or clinical recovery and how they emphasize experiential expertise in working with service recipients.

The background for CHIME 2.0 is therefore the identified need to develop recovery-oriented mental health and addiction services in Norwegian municipalities, particularly based on the service recipient’s terms. Furthermore, there is a need to clarify how changes in knowledge, skills, and attitudes among all involved in service development should occur.

Developing Recovery-oriented Courses

In the CHIME 2.0 project, we will develop and deliver recovery-oriented training courses for service leaders and employees in municipal mental health and addiction services together with four Norwegian municipalities.

The goal is that the courses will be continued by the participating municipalities’ own employees and local volunteers, and to establish a digital training offering through KBT Vocational College. The training will address how practical recovery work can be organized, applied, and carried out in services.

Project Goals and Expectations

The project aims to:

  • Enhance the quality of life for recipients of municipal mental health and addiction services by ensuring that the services:
    • Work recovery-oriented
    • Involve service recipients so that their strengths, needs, personal values, and goals are identified and emphasized
  • Support leaders and employees in municipal mental health and addiction services to:
    • Implement a recovery vision
    • Create engagement and culture across their services
    • Strengthen the practical skills and knowledge of employees within personal recovery to ensure good offers to the service recipient

What can CHIME 2.0 contribute to?

We have several expectations and thoughts on what CHIME 2.0 can contribute to and lead to:

  1. Strengthening a recovery-oriented service design on the user’s terms.
  2. Enhanced co-creation between service receivers and providers in learning processes about personal recovery.
  3. That more municipalities gain access to the training courses eventually.
  4. That voluntary user and family organizations gain access to the training courses.
  5. A systematic implementation of recovery-oriented practices and routines in services.
  6. Strengthened cooperation between services on the user’s terms.
  7. Collaborative relationships and a common recovery orientation between service providers and leaders.
  8. Improved knowledge, skills, and attitudes within personal recovery for health personnel.
  9. That participant municipalities continue the training courses after the project is completed.
  10. That the training courses are developed as educational offerings at KBT Fagskole.

Project partners

The project is a collaboration between KBT Vocational College, the Council for Mental Health, King’s College, and NTNU.

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Municipalities of Bærum, Sandnes, Tromsø, and Trondheim offer various recovery-oriented mental health and addiction services and are motivated to further develop and systematize this offering. They are the four participating municipalities of the project.

Implementation of the Project

The training courses are developed in collaboration with service recipients, providers, and leaders in mental health and addiction services in the participating municipalities.

By services, we mean municipal businesses, units, or organizations that offer activities and measures within substance abuse and mental health assistance. Service recipients are, for example, users, participants, or patients of the services, or residents who receive municipal substance abuse and mental health assistance.

Service providers are municipal employees in the services such as experience consultants/coworkers, environmental and social workers, and healthcare personnel. Service leaders are municipal leaders in the services, for example, department and unit managers.

Progress of the Project


The project is conducted with 9 activities spread across 4 phases. In phases 1 and 2, we gather and analyze feedback, reflections, and input from service recipients, providers, and leaders. We will also develop and carry out a pilot of the training course.

In phase 3, we will conduct training courses in the remaining participant municipalities. In phase 4, we will work on the evaluation of the training courses as well as the continuation and dissemination of the training offer.

The 9 activities consist of the following:

  • Mapping meetings with service leaders and the expert and advisory group
  • Individual in-depth conversations with service recipients and providers
  • Discussion meetings with service recipients and providers
  • Collaboration workshops with project participants
  • Closing events with project participants
  • Pilot and completion of training courses
  • Recovery-oriented training courses for service providers and leaders
  • Follow-up meetings with service leaders and the expert and advisory group
  • Continuation and digitalization of training offerings

The project is supported by the Dam Foundation

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This is a translation of Norwegian information about the CHIME project. The translation was done using AI technology. Before publication, the text was read over and some corrections were made.

MERSE (Interreg NPA)

Responsible at KBT Fagskole: Karl Johan and teacher in social entrepreneurship
Duration: 2023-2026

MERSE web page

Interregional Project on Rural Social Entrepreneurship

To build strong local communities, we need to build on the experiences and expertice of the locals. Public services can provide a lot but not everything. Social entrepreneurs who know their community and understand its needs can create services that complement public offerings. We will study the differences and similarities in rural social entrepreneurship in Norway, Sweden, Finland, Iceland, and Ireland.

Making It Easier to Start Social Entrepreneurship in Rural Areas

The driving force behind social entrepreneurs is the desire to make a difference in society and contribute to local community development. MERSE aims to facilitate the start-up and development of social enterprises in rural areas.

MERSE stands for “Business Models Empowering Rural Social Entrepreneurship – voicing the rural norm.” The project will develop simple, useful tools to create social enterprises in sparsely populated areas.

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How Can We Encourage More Social Entrepreneurship in Rural Communities?

The pilot study, BERSE, explored how social entrepreneurship could be explored and stimulated in rural areas. MERSE continues on the same theme, focusing on the opportunities for youth and women to become involved as social entrepreneurs.

Project Leader for MERSE is Yvonne von Friedrichs, a professor at Mittuniversitetet. She states,

“When community functions are centralised, they often disappear from more peripheral parts of a region. This is when local initiatives can create opportunities for especially young people and women to stay in the countryside as entrepreneurs, or for those who have moved away to return, so providing support around starting a rural enterprise can be crucial in enabling them to move back.”

Comparing Sweden, Finland, Iceland, Ireland, and Norway

The transnational collaboration between Norway, Sweden, Finland, Iceland, and Ireland allows researchers to exchange and compare knowledge and experiences. Through this collaboration, we aim to develop knowledge that facilitates social entrepreneurship in sparsely populated areas. This knowledge should lead to better opportunities for people who want to develop sustainable businesses and services, making it easier to live and work in rural areas.

Collaboration Until 2026

The project began on July 1, 2023, and will continue until June 31, 2026. Pelle Persson, from one of the project partners, says, “We want to learn from each other and are convinced that it is possible to find new solutions to old challenges. By involving social entrepreneurs, civil society, business advisers and academics in the different countries, we will get a broad knowledge base to be able to identify ‘best practice’ in how to support this industry”

Project Participants

In addition to the project partners listed below, the project will involve several associated partners in each country. MERSE has the following project partners:

  • Mittuniversitetet (Sweden) with partners:
    • Coompanion
    • Østersund municipality
    • Härjedalen municipality
    • Sundsvall municipality
    • Timrå municipality
  • KBT Vocation College (Norway)
  • Ruralia at the University of Helsinki (Finland)
  • Vestfjarðastofa (Iceland)
  • Údaras Na Gaeltachta (Ireland)

MERSE is financed by the EU and the Interreg Northern Periphery and Arctic Programme (NPA).

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This is a translation on information of the MERSE-project in Norwegian. The translation was done using AI technology. Before publication, the text was read over and some corrections were made.

Erasmus+ | SEKEHE – Structural Embedding of Knowledge by Experience in Higher Education through process of co-creation

SEKEHE is short for Structural Embedding of Knowledge by Experience in Higher Education through process of co-creation.

The project is financed by Erasmus+, and is a collaboration between educational institutions from Belgium, Italy, Norway and the Czech Republic. The represents from KBT Vocational School in this project, is Karl Johan Johansen og Vebjørn Ørsjødal.

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Project goals

SEKEHE runs over three years. The main goal of the project, is to include user experience as a support of students in higher education. Over the next three years, we will be working with the following:

  • Develop and facilitate co-learning activities by user experts (from higher education) and systematically incorporate their knowledge into the curriculum
  • Promote learning environment by creating formats to support experts by experience and teachers for current students in vulnerable situations
  • Develop local and transnational methodological/frameworks for systematically embedding user experience in higher education

News from SEKEHE

This project has been funded with support from the European Commission. This publication reflects the views only of the author, and the Commission cannot be held responsible for any use which may be made of the information contained therein.

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Erasmus + | PIA – Peer Support Workers as an Innovative force in Advocacy in dementia care

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This project aims to make sustainable and competence enhancing services for persons with dementia. We want to find new ways to involve users and relatives in the development of services.

Project partners

Project goals

  • Developing learning material and methods training peer supporters in dementia care
  • To develop strategies for policy. In PIA, they will find out how they can start national strategies for dementia, and open up the opportunity to use peer supporters
  • To develop a digital collaboration platform
  • Dissemination of knowledge of the results

News about PIA

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This project has been funded with support from the European Commission. This publication reflects the views only of the author, and the Commission cannot be held responsible for any use which may be made of the information contained therein.

Erasmus+ | SMART BUSINESS FOR ALL (SMAB)

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This Erasmus+ project aims to give migrants tools to start their own businesses in their new country.
Duration: December 2021- November 2023

Project partners:

Project Goals

  • Case studies about immigrants` need for training and facilitation
  • Development of an e-learning program which focus on immigrant entrepreneurs
  • Development of a web-based resource bank for said entrepreneurs
  • Facilitate immigrant start-ups for the green/ecological sector
  • Quality management and evaluation of activities and results (outcomes and impacts)

News about SMAB

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This project has been funded with support from the European Commission. This publication reflects the views only of the author, and the Commission cannot be held responsible for any use which may be made of the information contained therein.